Icelandic Provisions, maker of Icelandic dairy product skyr, is the results of an funding agency and a farmer collective trusting one another.
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For Jon Flint and his agency Polaris Founders Capital, successful over an Icelandic dairy firm got here right down to appreciating the tradition. That is each the cultures used to make Icelandic skyr, a dairy product much like yogurt, and the tradition of Iceland itself.
“At first, the group right here was very apprehensive,” stated Ari Edwald, CEO of MS Iceland Dairies, a cooperative of greater than 600 family-run dairy farms. “Who is that this American? Does he have any information of bringing this custom that’s so rooted on this nation?”
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Flint and his Polaris associate, Terry McGuire, have been the founders of Polaris Companions (the VC agency behind corporations together with Akamai, WordPress, EXOS, and LegalZoom) and so they shaped Polaris Founders Capital, together with associate Gregg Rubin, to put money into client and sports-related corporations. They already had a status within the small island nation due to their funding in deCODE genetics, an Icelandic genomics firm. Nonetheless, it took two years till MS agreed to associate up.
“They’ve by no means completed a partnership with anybody,” Flint stated. “We satisfied them what the market alternative was over right here (U.S. yogurt gross sales are round $9 billion, however have began to say no as extra choices have appeared) and that with our expertise constructing entrepreneurial corporations, we have been the correct guys for them to associate with.”
That was largely because of Flint and his group placing within the work, Edwald stated.
Picture Credit score: Courtesy of Icelandic Provisions
“We felt that there needed to be an enormous cultural distinction, however after seeing Jon and his group over and over, in our workplaces, in our factories, asking questions, desirous to find out about us and our historical past, we knew he was genuine and it simply began to really feel proper,” he stated. “He wasn’t some odd businessman, he had imaginative and prescient and shortly turned an Icelander by proxy.”
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The 2 companions shaped an organization referred to as Icelandic Provisions to make and distribute skyr — which the corporate says is thicker, creamier and has extra protein and fewer sugar than yogurt — within the U.S. Its merchandise launched on the finish of 2016 and may now be present in 6,600 shops. Its greatest sellers are its Vanilla, Strawberry Lingonberry and Coconut 5.Three-ounce containers. A brand new complete milk skyr product referred to as Krímí will probably be out in July of this yr.
“Skyr is exclusive in that it’s a easy recipe that begins with milk from family-owned farms and really particular heirloom skyr cultures,” Edwald stated. “Whereas we’ve tailored our methodology for making it with new, trendy tools, the recipe itself hasn’t been tinkered with. Entrepreneurs can study the easy lesson of not messing up factor when you have got it. In Iceland, we have now a saying: ‘petta reddast.’ It means, principally, that it’s going to all work out in the long run. It’s the motto many Icelanders dwell by and it goes a great distance in enterprise.”